On 20th December 2020 the last service was held in St. Finian’s Lutheran Church and the Church was closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The easing process allowed us to celebrate the first service since on 16th March 2021. Of course, all the measurements are still in place: 2 meters distance, face covering, signing in, no singing. All designated seats were occupied. It was like learning to walk after a long illness. It was a good feeling and God’s Spirit was with us.
The service was followed by Church Coffee in the back garden of the church: With exactly 2 hours it was one of the longest coffee meetings ever – with no food and no barbecue, only fellowship and chats.
On 17th and 18th April 1521 Martin Luther appeared at the Diet of Worms where he was asked to recant his books. Instead of that, he said:
“I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen”
The Lutheran Church in Ireland marked this anniversary with three webinars:
28th April Webinar “For to go against Conscience is neither right nor safe (Martin Luther): The role of Conscience from Luther to the Digital Age” with Prof Randall Zachman, USA; Prof (and former President of Ireland) Mary McAleese and Derek Scally (Irish Times Correspondent, Germany). On youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpAnVu280NU
It’s the beginning of March and we are still in the 5-km-lockdown. Each first Tuesday of a month at 1pm. Lovely to bring St. Finian’s Church to the people and the voice of the people into the abandoned church. I love the reflections of the altar stained glass windows in the screen.
Predigtreihe zur Passionszeit über Psalm 23 / Following the words of Psalm 23 through the time of Lent
Seit bald einem Jahr ist uns Verzicht auferlegt: Verzicht auf Teile des Einkommens für viele von uns, Verzicht auf soziale Kontakte und Reisen, Verzicht auf Nähe und Kultur, beschränkter Aktionsradius auf 5km seit nunmehr zwei Monaten. Deswegen soll dieses Jahr in der Passionszeit nicht Verzicht und Leid im Mittelpunkt unserer Gottesdienste stehen, sondern etwas Ermutigendes. Da bietet sich Psalm 23 an. Vertraute Worte, die viele von uns auswendig können. Bis einschließlich Ostern lassen wir uns von diesen alten Worten inspirieren. Mehr zum ersten Vers findet ihr unterhalb des Fotos, das vor ein paar Monaten in den Wicklow Mountains am Turlough Hill entstanden ist.
Der Herr ist mein Hirte: Ein guter Hirte geht hinter seinen Schafen her und überlässt ihnen Freiheit und Kompetenz. Der gute Hirte gibt die grobe Richtung vor und greift nur in Extremfällen ein. Das macht Gott, etwa mit den 10 Geboten oder dem Liebesgebot Jesu. Das Bild vom guten Hirten hat mit Vertrauen zu tun. Interessant ist, dass im Psalm 22 das genaue Gegenteil benannt wird: Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen, heißt es da. Gottverlassenheit und Vertrauen in Gottes Kraft liegen oft sehr nah beieinander in unserem Leben. Gerade in einer Pandemie kennen viele von uns diese “Achterbahn” des Glaubens. Beides gilt es, wahrzunehmen. Möge Jesu Wort, dass er selbst der gute Hirte ist, der sein Leben lässt für die Schafe, uns ermutigen, immer wieder zurückzufinden zum Gottvertrauen.
A short message on this rainy Friday, 19th February:
The Irish government just announced another 9 weeks of hard lockdown (that means, for instance: flights to the continent nearly impossible, hotel quarantine at your expense if coming from several destinations, still only 5km radius from home, and more fines to come if you breach the law). It’s sad to see the government has no other idea for the people to live with the pandemic. Vaccination centers are announced, but the program hasn’t started yet – only in hospitals and nursing homes.
The homepage of our Church has some difficulties – you might have noticed the Sunday service are back in December, and the email firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t working properly. In case of any difficulties with emails, please use email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org instead.
Live is on hold, and for many of us this is really tough. But life isn’t always easy. Don’t loose the hope and the perseverance!
By the way: what a nice coincidence that the Mars robot mission with it’s successful landing (yesterday) is called Perseverance (I found it absolutely fascinating that modern technology is able to manage such a landing)!
There is a longing of traveling and meeting people as there are so many conferences, lectures and even private journeys cancelled since one year.
But this week I was happy about two very interesting meetings on Zoom. This is the good outcome of a pandemic: Technology makes meetings happen.
The first one: On Tuesday 2nd February, I followed the invitation of Kairos Ireland to listen to Dr. Munthar Isaac, Lutheran Pastor at the Christmas Church in Bethlehem/Palestine: He spoke about “Reading the Bible as a Palestinian Christian” with very good biblical insights that have the potential to lead the discussion about Palestine’s future into a shared-land-policy.
The second “journey” brought me to Scotland yesterday, 4th February: It was the first UN International Day of Human Fraternity. Great honor for me: The Lutheran Church in Ireland hosted a talk with Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi from Scotland on behalf of Dublin City Interfaith Forum und Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association: Uplifting and touching talk with lot of hope. Imam Sayed was one of the four Imams who met Pope Francis in 2017 to build a better relationship between Islam and Christianity.